Bob Woodward came close. Oh so close to discerning how much of the mainstream media were blindsided by the stunning defeat of former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in his congressional primary in Virginia. In fact, Woodward came so close that your humble correspondent thought he was going to say it out loud today while being interviewed by CNN's Candy Crowley on State of the Union.
Instead Woodward skipped the real reason and gave the secondary reason for neglect of this story. Woodward did mention that too many reporters don't like to do the hard footwork to investigate stories in favor of sitting around the air conditioned newsroom and surfing the web for research. Unfortunately, Woodward completely overlooked the fact that much of the mainstream media reside in a liberal cocoon and miss much of what is going on in the conservative world as happened in that Virginia election. First let us look at Woodward's very partial explanation for what went wrong with that election coverage:
The Washington Post has assigned reporter Jenna Portnoy to follow Republican nominee David Brat's campaign for the U.S. House seat for the 7th District of Virginia. In Portnoy's latest story, published in Friday's paper on page B4, the staff writer slammed Brat for having "largely ducked media exposure since his [primary] win," noting that after a brief press statement on Thursday which lasted eight minutes, he "retreated inside" his campaign headquarters, "ignoring questions shouted by reporters." A few days earlier, Portnoy insisted that an unprepared Brat had "stumbled" during a phone interview with MSNBC's Chuck Todd
Of course, as Politico's Sarah Wheaton has noted, Brat's Democratic opponent, fellow Randolph-Macon College professor Jack Trammell, "offered few policy specifics during his first public appearance as a candidate on Saturday." Last Friday, Wheaton reported that "Trammell has declined multiple interview requests" and that "[l]ike Brat, who virtually no one thought had a shot at toppling Cantor, he’s gone into something of a lockdown." Yet a search for "Jack Trammel" on the Washington Post website reveals no such critical reporting about the Democrat's unwillingness to have free-wheeling interactions with reporters. What's more, Trammel received fawning coverage in, of all places, a June 16 Style blog entry by book reviewer Ron Charles. The topic was Trammel's yet-unfinished vampire novel (excerpt below, emphasis mine):
Now that the initial shock of Dr. Dave Brat’s primary victory over outgoing House Minority Leader Eric Cantor has passed us by a bit, it is time to look at it for what it really is.
First off, it is only a primary victory. There is still the general election. And you can be sure the Left and their allies are now as busy as ever, plotting and sneaking and doing all sorts of devilry to send the good doctor back to the woodpile where he belongs.
Congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA) made his first live television appearances on Sunday, June 15 following his primary defeat to his a Tea Party challenger David Brat. The defeat was unexpected by most in Washington and was one of the main topics of conversation across the Sunday shows.
Cantor sat down with CNN’s Dana Bash on State of the Union on Sunday and was asked by the fill-in host “Do you think that there was anti-Semitism involved in your defeat?" [See video below.]
Rep. Eric Cantor has only himself to blame for losing the respect, trust, and votes of Tea Party conservatives, and with it, his House seat in Virginia's 7th congressional district, For America chairman Brent Bozell explained on Wednesday's Kelly File[watch the full segment here or by clicking play on the embed below the page break]:
Like many analysts in the “mainstream media,” New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters sought to explain how David Brat -- a 49-year-old economics professor and virtually unknown candidate -- won the Republican primary in Virginia on Tuesday, unseating Eric Cantor, a seven-term incumbent who has served as the majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Peters' explanation? During a lengthy article the following day, he asserted that the upset victory was made possible by the intervention of “potent voices of the conservative media,” including GOP radio talk show hosts Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin.
Economics professor Dave Brat crushed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Republican primary Tuesday night, in a campaign that was mostly about Cantor's supporting amnesty for 11 million illegal aliens.
This marks the first time a U.S. House majority leader has ever lost a primary election.
But a review of the full interview [listen to the mp3 audio here] shows that Brat had already and seemingly quite gladly answered a few policy questions on such hot issues as the minimum wage, immigration reform, and his stance on Wall Street's influence on the business wing of the GOP.
Don’t look now, but there may be pigs flying around outside your window.
On the June 11 episode of Ronan Farrow Daily, Hardball host Chris Matthews defended conservative Republican congressional nominee David Brat – who surprised all of Washington with his unexpected defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) – and the Tea Party movement against fellow liberals who are “looking down our noses at the Tea Party.” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
It took less than two hours for leftist media types to imply that voters in VA-07 who ousted House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in last night's Republican congressional primary did so partly because of Cantor's Jewish faith. It took less than 12 hours for Politico refugee Reid Epstein, now inexplicably at the Wall Street Journal, to go after Brat with a misleading headline — "David Brat’s Writings: Hitler’s Rise 'Could All Happen Again'" — which was repeated in the opening sentence. Without presenting any evidence, Epstein also claimed that Brat predicted a "second Holocaust."
Uh, Reid: Adolf Hitler died 69 years ago. David Brat, based on what you presented, was talking about the rise of tyrannies like Hitler's (who was predominantly a leftist; what about "nation socialism" doesn't anyone understand?) — or Stalin's, or Mao's, or Ho Chi Minh's, or any number of relatively petty Eastern European tyrants propped up by Moscow during the Cold War. But an apparent desperate need to get a Hitler reference into a headline about a Republican insurgent ruled the day.